Four decades ago, one of modern bluegrass music’s most accomplished and influential acts was formed. Blending traditional music with the burgeoning “newgrass” sound, Hot Rize featured a stellar lineup of musicians including vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Tim O’Brien, Pete “Dr. Banjo” Wernick, Nick Forster on bass and original member Charles Sawtelle, who died in 1999. With current guitarist Bryan Sutton, and special guests Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas and Stuart Duncan, the group celebrates their longevity with the release of 40th Anniversary Bash, a live LP recorded during the band’s three-night stand at the Boulder Theatre.
Spotlighting their superb musicianship and camaraderie is the above clip of the group’s performance of “Radio Boogie,” an exuberant tune first recorded by songwriter L.C. Smith in 1952 that would serve as the title cut of Hot Rize’s second LP in 1981. This live version captures the event’s – and indeed the entire album’s – raucous, celebratory spirit, with opportunities for each of the individual members and their equally talented friends to display their instrumental prowess.
“This one goes back to the 1950s when rockin’ and boogiein’ were new on the country scene,” Wernick tells Rolling Stone Country. “Seemed worth an update, as people still do the boogie by the radio.'”
Collecting together an impressive 19 tracks spanning the group’s history – including a cover of Glen Campbell’s “Wichita Lineman” – 40th Anniversary Bash will be released on August 3rd. Hot Rize will play selected dates throughout the summer and fall, including Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium on Thursday, July 12th, the Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival in New York July 20th and Rockygrass in Lyons, Colorado July 29th.